Avian Bornavirus and Proventricular Dilatation Disease: Facts, Questions, and Controversies

Key Points

  • Avian bornavirus has been shown to be a cause of the disease syndrome formerly known as proventricular dilatation disease or PDD.
  • Avian bornavirus is a labile virus, susceptible to most disinfectants, detergents, and ultraviolet light.
  • Birds can harbor asymptomatic avian bornavirus infection.
  • The avian bornavirus is intermittently shed in feces and urates.
  • Clinical disease develops secondary to the body’s response to infection, as lymphocytic-plasmacytic infiltrate develops in the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves and is frequently described as neuropathic ganglioneuritis.
  • Progression of clinical disease, or neuropathic ganglioneuritis, can be slow or quite rapid.
  • The clinical signs of neuropathic ganglioneuritis typically vary from primarily gastrointestinal, primarily neurological, or both gastrointestinal and neurological.
  • Definitive diagnosis is challenging antemortem, but typically relies upon a combination of PCR and serology.
  • Whenever possible, isolation of infected birds is recommended; culling of infected birds is NOT recommended.

Proventricular dilatation disease or PDD is one of the most frustrating avian conditions encountered today. The recent discovery of a causal relationship between PDD and avian bornavirus has not simplified the challenges that are faced. The detection of avian bornavirus infection is common in birds with PDD but is also detected in birds with other chronic diseases that are not diagnosed with PDD. Proventricular dilatation disease was first reported in the late 1970s . . .


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